On this Sunday, the week after Pentecost, we celebrate The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity in the Church. We have celebrated this particular weekend in the Church for more than 700 years. Depending on your age, you may recall St. Pope John XXIII who organized and oversaw Vatican II. Interestingly, it was Pope John XXII (1316-1364) who made this celebration official in the Church.
We consider the Holy Trinity to be one of the great mysteries in the Church. It is the mystery of the identity of God. Who is God? God is one God in three Divine Persons — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Whether we are aware of this consciously or not, this is something each of us acknowledges in a number of ways, especially when we go to Mass. Every time we make the Sign of the Cross, we are making a statement about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
That statement is made often. At minimum it is made when the celebrating priest opens Mass with a sign of the cross. Just prior to the Gospel Reading we do an older version of the sign of the cross by making a small cross on our forehead, our lips, and our chest. The priest concludes the Mass with a blessing, and we all make a Sign of the Cross.
There are so many other times before, during, and after Mass when we make the sign or the cross, and there may be other times in our daily lives when we do it. Pope Francis has said, "Every time we make the sign of the cross, we draw closer to God." Perhaps we should do it even more often.
YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND THE DIOCESE OF OAKLAND PRIESTHOOD ORDINATION MASS ON MAY 25, 2018 AT CHRIST THE LIGHT CATHEDRAL, 7:00PM. FOLLOWING HIS FRIDAY EVENING ORDINATION, FR. ARTURO BAZAN WILL BE OFFERING HIS FIRST MASS OF THANKSGIVING (SUNDAY VIGIL) ON SATURDAY, MAY 26 AT ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER - 7:00PM.
THERE WILL BE A RECEPTION FOLLOWING THE MASS. ALL ARE WELCOME.
- by Fr. Bill Peckman - May 29, 2017
I believe the most powerful tool the devil has at his disposal is fear.
When I say "fear," I do not mean "fear of the Lord," which is a spiritual gift that helps us to respect God.
No, I mean the fear which tells us that God does not want what is good for us. I mean the fear that ultimately leads to rebellion. For if I do not trust a person in authority because I do not believe that they are interested in my good, I will rebel against them. It is human nature to rebel against that kind of abusive authority.
Indeed, the devil himself is driven by fear. He feared our creation as somehow diminishing his own. He didn't trust God and His will. His fear led to rebellion and hate; not just of God, but of us as well. His main tool is what drives him.
In the garden, his temptation is based in fear, a fear the devil himself is motivated by: "God does not want what is good for you. Don't trust Him." It is why the first emotion Adam and Eve feel after the fall is fear (they notice they are naked) and that fear leads them to try and hide from God.
Fear is the biggest reason why Catholics do not evangelize. We are afraid of rejection, of having our lack of knowledge of the faith exposed, of persecution, of having to step out from society. Indeed, to evangelize is to say what the world offers is insufficient. That might well expose us to ridicule, persecution, or rejection. It might well expose our own lack of knowledge.
Fear is what destroys vocations. A young man or woman will fear rejection, accusation, loss of independence, and various other things. They will be shown the absolute worst examples: unfaithful priests, unhappy married people, bitter religious, criminal behavior. They will be told this is the norm and who they will become should they follow such a road. Fear will be cultivated until even the thought of seeking God's will is yanked up by its roots.
Fear is what destroys our liturgies. Fear? Absolutely! Fear that I won't get anything out of it, fear that people will leave, fear that I will be seen as irrelevant, fear that I will be seen as dated, etc.
Fear causes us to put the focus on ourselves. It insulates us. If my modus operandi is self-protection/self-pleasure/self-satisfaction, they all scream to God, "I do not trust you! I have to look out for my own good!" Because proper worship is focused away from ourselves and towards God, if I do not trust God then Mass either becomes placating a unfair God, or a completely disposable event...why worship something that is not looking out for our good?
We are told 365 times in the Bible to not be afraid. God knows what fear does to us. Since He actually does love us and wants what is good for us, he tells us to trust Him — to have courage and strength. He knows fear will stall us and eventually and eternally destroy us.
Not to sound like Yoda, but fear leads to anger. It leads us to darkness. Fear leads us to rebellion and despair. It leads us to an emptiness and dissatisfaction with life. It leads us to strike out against those not bound by fear.
The devil knows this. He is the penultimate example of "misery loves company."
Fear is overcome with faith one decision at a time. Fortitude, a cardinal virtue, when driven by the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love spurs us to reject fear. It gives us the courage to endure with joy whatever those still in fear will throw at us.
Live in fortitude infused with faith, hope, and love and evangelization and vocation will not only be something no longer run from, they will be something desired. Live in fortitude infused with faith, hope, and love then the worship of God, and not the entertainment of man, will become the focus of our liturgies again. Prayer will not be seen as a burden to appease God, but as a longing for growth in our relationship with God and the Body of Christ.
The virtues, though, are disciplines by which we consciously decide what we want to be. We must decide to trust God choice by choice, surrendering our will to His providence. The coldness of fear gets replaced with the fire of love.
It is your choice. God has one plan for you. The devil also has a plan for you.
Which plan you follow will be taken step by step by whether you give into or rise above fear.
Lastly, we ought to pray to and invoke the Holy Spirit, for each one of us greatly needs His protection and His help. The more a man is deficient in wisdom, weak in strength, borne down with trouble, prone to sin, so ought he the more to fly to Him who is the never-ceasing fount of light, strength, consolation, and holiness. And chiefly that first requisite of man, the forgiveness of sins, must be sought for from Him: "It is the special character of the Holy Ghost that He is the Gift of the Father and the Son. Now the remission of all sins is given by the Holy Ghost as by the Gift of God" (Summ. Th. 3a, q. iii., a. 8, ad 3m).
Concerning this Spirit the words of the Liturgy are very explicit: "For He is the remission of all sins" (Roman Missal, Tuesday after Pentecost). How He should be invoked is clearly taught by the Church, who addresses Him in humble supplication, calling upon Him by the sweetest of names: "Come, Father of the poor! Come, Giver of gifts! Come, Light of our hearts! O, best of Consolers, sweet Guest of the soul, our refreshment!" (Hymn, Veni Sancte Spiritus). She earnestly implores Him to wash, heal, water our minds and hearts, and to give to us who trust in Him "the merit of virtue, the acquirement of salvation, and joy everlasting." Nor can it be in any way doubted that He will listen to such prayer, since we read the words written by His own inspiration: "The Spirit Himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings" (Rom. viii., 26).
Lastly, we ought confidently and continually to beg of Him to illuminate us daily more and more with His light and inflame us with His charity: for, thus inspired with faith and love, we may press onward earnestly towards our eternal reward, since He "is the pledge of our inheritance" (Eph. i. 14).
O Glorious St. Joseph, thou who hast power to render possible even things which are considered impossible, come to our aid in our present trouble and distress.
Take this important and difficult affair under thy particular protection, that it may end happily.
(MENTION YOUR REQUEST)
O dear St. Joseph, all our confidence is in thee. Let it not be said that we would invoke thee in vain; and since thou art so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that thy goodness equal thy power. Amen.
St. Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.
A Votive Light is a "silent sentinel" and can burn for your special intentions or for someone who is in need of prayers. This is a thoughtful expression of your sentiments and best wishes for any occasion. Your Votive Light can be an act of faith and charity - the light is a symbol of the sacrifice you have made in behalf of someone else - and it is a silent reminder of your prayers for them.
Unlike a regular purchase, a votive candle donation is an "offering" made to God through the intercession of the Saints which also helps support our St. Joseph the Worker Church's mission of beautiful liturgies, reconciliation and healing.
Your prayerful votive offerings are "lighting up" our church with beauty and prayer. Thank you, and may God bless you.